Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Friday, February 8, 2008

1-23-08 The Social Misfit

2:57 PM

Am I a communication misfit? Yes, probably a little.

Dating back to the time I became really sick and Matt was pulled out, and even more so since leaving Niger, and returning from my vacation, for that matter. I can't say I have contributed even the tiniest fraction of events.

Depending on the notion that many of you know me personally as a family member, friend, regular reader or even random search you might have caught some of the tales while home.

If not too bad, so sad.

Going to the states was incredible, cold quality beer, Mexican food, margaritas, BBQ and a multitude of other things were thoroughly enjoyed. It was a real break from the insect light fecalmatterflaked food, piss flavored Nigerien beer, and 12 hour taxi rides to travel 100km.

But coming back to Niger was a blast, seriously - a land mine going off in the neighborhood. I was in checking my email and it was kinda eerie, but at least its something the States don't have, right?

No worries.

I finally made it back to Maradi after a long drawn out week in Niamey, there was no motivation due to the jet lag. For about two weeks I was a wondering moron, stumbling about sleeping only 3-4 hours a day. Or going to bed at 10a.m.

But it’s nothing being back in the ville can't solve.

Last week I made it back to Dan Saga and was given a homecoming reception fit for a returning celebrity. I had called a villager friend and told him that I would be back in two days time. So, on his own initiative, he told everyone and the result was about a hundred or so people waiting for me to arrive that afternoon. There was dancing, singing, hugs, greetings, jumping, running, handshakes, laughing, joking, and even a pair of potato and meat venders showed up for the occasion and profited handsomely on the occasion.

Good tasty Nigerien taters. Fresh meat. Mmmm

I missed it.

After my first night’s sleep back in the ville there was no rest for the wicked and my villagers put me to work. I didn't have hardly a minutes rest between trying to work in my tree nursery, squeak through ALL the rusty Hausa and dodge the barrage of blessings and greetings.

My house hasn't been lived in for practically two months, and seems to be no less of a barrier to the constant shifting of sands, dust, and wind than to the tremendous rain storms.

But that’s not even important. My village was there with open arms, whole heartedly greeting me.

God bless these folks, I love em.

And you know what? I was given a whole new set of fields, I think its 3 or 4 now. Like I said no time to rest, and even was told by many farmers that they were happy to work with me this year and adapt my farming model to their fields.

This was like day 2 of being back.

Day 3

I measured my peppenaire (nursery), plotted, and planned how this thingy is going to function based on principals that I have learned from studying permaculture…blah, blah, blah.

My work this year has promise to be a project for the records! It’s going to be a lot fun.

Back in Maradi

Today I went on a bit of a spree and bought a plethora of fantastic tools, fencing, and cement to construct an incredibly integrated system. Though it wasn't my money, and I probably shouldn't have spent it, I did because it was too tempting. With the equivalent of about 300 bucks USD in my pocket I felt like a kid in a toy store.

Now it’s a discarded tree nursery with connecting fields next to a well.

But soon this domain will be transformed from a littered low output field, into a multidimensional space integrating a garden, nursery, orchard, cash crop field, medicinal forest garden, and home to chickens, bees, rabbits, goats, ducks, guinea fowl, an ox or two, then possibly a horse, then top it off with a dog. We will also be selling value added products, along with a multitude of other services.

What keeps me motivated of working here like this? I look at the long term and think this is how I would do it back on my farm.

My goal is to turn this area into a learning environment that extends its impact beyond my own service and stands as a testament to anyone who takes the time regularly to stop and ponder on the larger things in life and use their imagination to create something wonderful.

Or if one just says eh' that's a great place to tether an ox, or for little kids to take a number two, good enough for me.

Woe to me for having a job where all I have to do is explore my imagination and create something musical, beneficial, but most importantly sustainable.

The next month seems to be a very busy one so don't expect for me to surface too often other than for a quick jaunt out of the ville to grab something.

2008 is going to be an amazing year.

Even managed to put up a hammock in my peppenaire for a place of rest, deep thought, and work.

Peppenaire (pep-EN-yair) as spoken in upper flatland Missourian dialect is a tree nursery.

There is work.
Life is good indeed.

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